Vail Health Magazine 2013 - page 30

Experts at Howard
Head utilize new
research to help
prevent ACL
injuries in women
by Shauna Farnell
On the Move
ave you ever
noticed that
females tear
their ACLs more
frequently than
males? A few
years ago, the medical world
discovered plenty of research and
evidence supporting this reality,
though not necessarily a rhyme
or reason for it.
“A female athlete is two to six
times more likely to experience
a non-contact ACL tear than her
male counterpart,” says Thomas
Olson, physical therapist and di-
rector of education and research
at Howard Head Sports Medicine.
“They were trying to discover
why. They had the incidence
numbers and some said it was
due to strength. It wasn’t. Some
said it was a genetic issue. Some
said it was hormonal issues. They
couldn’t find any single thing.”
Still, the discovery is nothing
short of groundbreaking. And
the research has helped thera-
pists make great strides in treat-
ing and preventing ACL injuries
among women.
“A group of researchers and
doctors at Cincinnati Children’s
Hospital came up with a land-
mark study that identified a clear,
primary risk factor contributing
to the increase in non-contact
ACL injuries in women. They
found that when girls go through
puberty, for whatever reason
their motor control changes.
Boys and girls jumping before
puberty look the same. After
puberty, girls land differently.
They refer to it as a medical knee
collapse. They still don’t know
why this happens, but in retrain-
ing motor patterning in female
athletes, the risk for non-contact
ACL tears has been decreased,”
Olson says.
Here in the Vail area, many of
you might guess a very common
situation that leads to “non-con-
tact ACL tears.” Think mountains.
Think snow. Think lots of snow.
Yes, many ACL tears occur while
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